Accounting Systems Technology—The Importance of Computers in Accounting

accounting systems technology

ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE SYSTEMS HAVE REVOLUTIONIZED SMALL BUSINESS IN WAYS THAT ARE STILL PROPAGATING THROUGH THE INDUSTRY, TRANSFORMING IT—AND THEMSELVES AS THEY GO.

Accounting and allied fields are still changing rapidly, often in ways we can’t easily predict. However, it’s clear that the new technologies, despite their often steep learning curves, have greatly enhanced our abilities to get our work done more efficiently and effectively, a trend that’s likely to continue for the foreseeable future. The advent of complex computers, a spate of new and useful programs, and electronic commerce in general has completely changed the way that accountants do business.

Via Giphy

Via Giphy

SINCE WE’RE ACCOUNTING NERDS, WE’LL COVER SOME PRETTY HARDCORE TOPICS DEALING WITH THE ROLE OF ACCOUNTING SYSTEMS TECHNOLOGY SUCH AS:

  • Accounting uses of the Internet and Intranets
  • Advantages and disadvantages of electronic commerce
  • A comparison of batch and real-time transaction processing
  • Electronic data interchange (EDI) processes

ACCOUNTING USES FOR INTERNETS AND INTRANETS

Both Intranets and the Internet are extremely useful for accounting purposes, but unfortunately (and inevitably) drawbacks exist that may threaten the integrity of any accounting system. The bellwether issue in this instance is, as it so often is, security. Any electronic system connected to an outside source such as the Internet is prone to attacks from clever hackers, though these days even inexperienced children can attack and effect networks, because the scripts necessary to do so are published on easily-accessed websites.

Via Giphy

Via Giphy

These “script-kiddies,” whether they truly have malicious intent or are performing the cyberspace equivalent of joyriding, can cause substantial damage to a company’s bottom line, especially if they’re able to steal, alter, or delete sensitive accounting information. Even worse, corporate spies and disgruntled employees may take advantage of their positions to either steal important information or wreak havoc on a company’s systems. Some employees may even hack into sensitive areas not for malicious reasons, but simply because they can. Unfortunately, such intrusions are often hard to detect, because information is easy to copy and so usually does not disappear when it is stolen.

That said, uses such as maintenance and posting of travel expenses, company directories, inventories and price controls, and purchase orders are prime examples of the ways that company Intranets and the Internet can be made to work for the accountant. For example, expense entry and reimbursement can be sped up significantly, with processing costs cut simultaneously. Intranets also allow a company to publish accounting information company-wide all at once, information that they might otherwise have to send out via snail-mail, a substantial consideration for larger companies. Furthermore, in many cases intranets and their associated processes are extremely easy and relatively cheap to institute; they often take advantage of existing e-mail systems, for example, and help to knit together the disparate aspects of the corporation.

While not necessary a direct function of accounting, some payroll functions are easy to relegate to these types of networks, and it’s possible to transmit payroll and other accounting information to third-party processors in order to cut payroll and expense checks for the employees. Many companies even maintain servers using programs like Web Cognos that allow employees to examine electronic paycheck stubs, a useful function in companies in which paychecks are electronically deposited and no physical check is ever issued, an increasingly common occurrence.

ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF E-COMMERCE IN ACCOUNTING

importance of accounting in business

Many of drawbacks of e-commerce in accounting are essentially the same as those listed in the previous section. The big issue is security; many people don’t care to give their credit card numbers and other sensitive information to online vendors — and for good reason, considering the horror stories of third-party fraud constantly repeated in the media. In addition, creating the framework for e-commerce accounting can be difficult and time consuming. Although a complex database can be simple to use and a great timesaver once it has been created, the company must necessarily go through the process of building that database in the first place, often from scratch. Fortunately, there are a variety of programs, including Microsoft Access, that can streamline this process. Sometimes, too, it’s hard to find the individual item one is looking for in a large database; the right questions must be asked in order to elicit the information one needs.

But the advantages are nonetheless vast. E-commerce taps into a fast-growing market that’s not merely local or regional, but global as well. Data entered into the forms on a website can be easily downloaded into databases for extended accounting, management, and marketing uses. From an extranet perspective (extranets being expanded intranets allowing some customers and vendors into the system) online bidding and improved supply-chain management allows companies to streamline their processes, which in turn helps to control costs. Installing e-commerce functionality can also help integrate and improve both accounting and management, especially when integrated websites interact with both financial and inventory software.

One interesting way in which accounting and e-commerce could interact involves digital money, which is entirely virtual. Digital money is a direct outgrowth of e-commerce, and if it ever comes into wide use, it will have sweeping effects on the economy. Some of these will be as prosaic as saving on the costs of printing, transporting, and handling paper money, and some will be as impressive as making counterfeiting and money laundering impossible or, at the very least, much more difficult than they already are. Accounting will likely be impacted, though not as much as one might initially suppose. Accountants already juggle large amounts of financial data without ever touching cash, and some of that is already transferred electronically without ever being converted into real cash, although of course the real article must exist in some form to back it.

BATCH AND REAL-TIME PROCESSING

application of computers in accounting

The differences between batch and real-time transaction processing are rather straightforward, and are more of degree than of kind. Both, moreover, are valid methods of processing business events such as accounting transaction entries, though they’re usually employed in differing circumstances. Generally, batch processing occurs when large numbers of transactions are received in a specific time period, and real-time processing is done in situations where more manageable numbers of transactions are received in that same amount of time.

In some situations, it’s advantageous to group transactions into batches for a specific period (usually an hour or day) and process them all at once. This generally uses less computing time, and can be done at night. It’s necessary to define certain parameters before the batches are initiated, and in some cases events can be lost or corrupted if the proper care isn’t taken. The process also makes it more difficult to catch errors in individual transactions or entries. Batch processing is usually done when there are large numbers of transactions involved, and actual hand-entry as they came in would be prohibitively time-consuming and expensive. Also, it conserves system resources that could better be used for other purposes during business hours.

Real-time processing, on the other hand, involves complete processing as transactions are received. This is advantageous in situations where limited numbers of transactions are received during work hours, since it gets everything taken care of quickly and the use of system resources is negligible. Assuming they are monitored, real-time transactions are potentially less prone to error than batch transactions. The process can also allow a style of in-depth customer service that batch processing does not. Providing real-time processing for all transactions is cost-prohibitive, however, if large numbers of transactions are involved; it’s at this point that batch processing comes into its own.

ELECTRONIC DATA INTERCHANGE PROCESSES

Machine Learning

Electronic data interchange (EDI) is a form of electronic commerce used to exchange accounting data between companies or between branches of the same company. EDI can revolutionize the easy exchange of such information, trimming unnecessary redundancy and making the physical exchange of much of the necessary paperwork a thing of the past. Most EDI is batch-related (see the previous section), and uses standardized formats such as ANSI X2 and EDIFACT to transfer a transmission set through networks containing specialized software and hardware. Companies can communicate using methods as disparate as virtual private networks (VPNs), third-party value added networks (VANs), or even the multipurpose internet mail extension (MIME) aspects of existing email systems, which allows transmission across the Internet.

Many wonder about the need for accountants in the future but ultimately instituting EDI is relatively inexpensive, involving the simple automation of an existing process, and in the end can save money by cutting costs.Of course, EDI designers must take security into account in order to safeguard the data, and must include provisions to verify transmission authenticity as well as accuracy and completeness. The electronic trail should be auditable as well.

THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF ERP

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is another new technological approach to business that has lofty ambitions, many of which it happens to be unable to live up to. The intent is to integrate all of a company’s departments and functions (including and especially accounting) onto a single computer system that can handle the entire company’s needs. Although the method may be somewhat crude, it’s most useful as a method of centralizing and improving customer order processing through the use of a single computer program; Oracle, for example. All the departments can see the customer entries and can update it as necessary. When it works well, ERP provides several useful functions. It can:

  • Integrate financial information;
  • Integrate customer order information;
  • Standardize and speed up manufacturing processes;
  • Reduce inventory; and
  • Standardize HR information

At its best, ERP can help companies streamline their internal processes so that everything runs more smoothly.

These are the ideal results of ERP use. However, ERP systems are often difficult to install, and may never work well. Despite vendor promises, full-blown ERP systems often take several years to work their way into company processes, and may take longer if resistance to change is a significant factor. On the average, process approval and savings do start to appear after an average of eight months. Often, ERP systems require “middleware” or intermediate software in order to integrate with existing programs and systems. In addition, ERP systems tend to be quite expensive to institute and maintain: the total cost of ownership (TCO) includes necessary hardware, software, staff costs, and professional services, and may run into the millions of dollars. Hidden costs (training, customization, testing and integration, data conversion, data analysis, and consultant costs) may also be quite high. In general, ERP seems to be more trouble than it’s worth, especially for smaller businesses.

5 Outsourcing Tips for Small Businesses

The hope of any small business owner is to build a business that continues to grow into something prosperous and successful. But what happens when business grows faster than you can keep up with? Outsourcing tasks and projects may be your best option.

Here are 5 tips to help you determine what to outsource, and the benefits you can reap as a result.

1. Save Yourself Some Time

As a small business owner you know how valuable your time is, and having more time to live your life and focus on more important aspects of your business would be a game changer. Rather than trying to do everything yourself, consider outsourcing some tasks to gain more time for other things. Call center outsourcing is an excellent idea, as is outsourcing your HR and accounting needs.

2. Play to Your Strengths

What are your strengths? Consider the aspects of your business that you excel in. Would you like to start a blog about your business, but your talents lie elsewhere? Outsource this need to a company specializing in blog writing and ensure that every aspect of your company is being handled by only the best person or people for the job.

3. Be Particular in Who You Choose

When choosing a person or company to outsource tasks to, make sure they are not only well-qualified in the area of need you have, but also that they have a desire to work in your industry. You want to be sure anyone you work with will be as invested in your business and projects as you are.

4. Look at the Big Picture

Even if your initial need is just for help with one project, it’s wise to look at the big picture when hiring someone to manage this extra work, because let’s face it—it’s likely you’ll continue to need more help as your business grows. Choose someone that’s a good fit for long-term work with your business to avoid having to continuously hire new contractors.

5. Treat Contractors and Freelancers Like Employees

The best way to keep your contractors or freelancers happy is to treat them like real employees. Offer them benefits you’d give your regular employees, be clear in your directions, and treat them fairly—keeping them happy is the best way to keep them around and receive consistently stellar work from them.

10 Vital Steps to Improve Your Triathlon Swim

This article is completely focused on traiathlon and helps the triatheletes to recognize their talent and abilities, all that they need is a different techniques and styles of training to improve their swimming skills. For instance, the six feet, four inches Phelps can propel 2m like a speed boat, which is not possible for a normal people. And also he swims 45 miles per week, which is incredible but you have to concentrate on other two sports along with swimming. Recently I completed a triathlon in St George Utah, and it was an incredible experience to say the least.

Triathlon_063
Photo Credit: Rob124

The basic pool principle is that all triathletes and swimmers should learn to streamline their techniques and maintain their body strength then it is easy to achieve their goal faster.

If you are a beginner in triathlon swim, then you can go with any stroke in the swim, but focous mostly on freestyle because it gives you best cardio workout. Freestyle stroke helps you move all your muscles and helps you build core strength and also helps you burn calories. Here you can find 10 steps to improve your triathlon swim.

  1. Swim tall: Terry Laughlin says that water is thousand times denser than air. The important factor is to slide your body through the small hole in the water. Think that the central axis expanding from the apex of your head to the other opposite end of the pool. Turn your body along with axis for each stroke, extending your top arm forward, and keep your abs and lower back tight as you use the force from both your legs and arms.
  2. Dive an anchor: Swimming requires movements from both arms and feet. With your hand and a forearm you hold the water at the right angle towards your upper arm and plowing in like you are collecting sand with a scoop. Keep your hands flat, firm and broad. You should not push your arm through the water the extent as affixing it and pulling your body above it.
  3. Heavy Rotation: Each stokes starts with your arm and the side of your body pointing at the bottom of the swimming pool. The other side of the body should be lifted with the arm which finished the stroke and ready to get back into the water. In the mean time your other arm pulls the water when you turn your upper body to provide acceleration.
  4. Put your head down: Freestyle swimmers hold their head high. This may force to drop the rest of the body rotating it into a high drag digging. When you keep your head down it helps you cut drag, and keep your upper body high, which may reduce strain on your lower back and neck.
  5. Find your slide lane: Fewer strokes are good when you are swimming in the pool. But, your goal must be high DPS (Distance per Stroke). The Ace swimmers like Phelps can easily swim 25m in just 7 strokes. You can try to swim in below 20 by saving energy. Pull your body above your anchor and keep on swimming forwards with one arm backwards and other one forward. When you feel you are slowing down, then start the next stroke.
  6. Pull your feet: According to Phelps, if you kick well, then you are good swimmer. The secret is rotating your feet into arms. Your legs should be tight and cut through the water, and your feet must be flexible. This will help you break the down stroke for each kick, and help you rotate your torso through the central axis.
  7. Hold your breath: Don’t waste your breath. Gasping for air each time when your put your head near the surface is not a ideal way. Instead, count each breath. Insistently breathe out the air from your lungs before taking full breath quickly on the high side. First time swimmers must breathe after each stroke, but when their stamina increases, they can try taking breath on alternate strokes. It will reduce the strain on your shoulders and neck.
  8. Find your racing structure: Your body structure must be fit for training, when the triathlon race begins, you will forget how to carry out. It happens to every swimmer, once you start swimming, you just want to see other triathletes are doing and how well they are performing. You don’t need to swim fast during the initial stage of triathlon; it can reduce your energy levels, so the best way is to maintain your effectiveness at high intensity.
  9. Find your Sill: Take 5 minutes to warm up, and then take 500m test. Start at a speed where you can clasp for more than 500m and increase gradually so that you can put 90% effort for the last 100m.
  10. Drill bits: Avoid dangers with simple swimming drills, asks your coach about the drill bits and in no time you will become a pro swimmer.

Follow these ten step to became a pro swimmer and improve you triathlon swim. Understanding your weak points and taking help from expert swimmer can help your improve your techniques and help you swim better. Try these ten useful tips and become a ace swimmer in no time.

Hiking in Southern Utah Tips

If you are on a hike, always remember to take with you great memories and photos that will last for a lifetime and leave everything what you find behind. There are so many wonderful things to see and hike to, that was our conclusion last time we stayed in a motel in St. George Utah, so that we could hike in Zion. Truly what a wonderful place to visit and hike to.

Zion Mists

Photo Credit: John Fowler

Below are some of the most useful tips to guide your hiking trip remarkably:

  1. Have early plans and preparations. Consider the area and weather condition when planning to go for a hike. Take preparations such as keeping a small group to minimize impacts and the use of high times for trails should be avoided. Likewise, staying away from shortcuts and walking in one file will prevent the trail and surrounding ecosystems from being harmed.
  2. Travel and find durable surfaces to camp. Resilient grounds such as surfaces with a combination of rock, gravel, sand, dry grass or snow are tough which could hold heavy activities. To avoid widening the trail, walk through puddles or mud.
  3. Proper waste disposal. A good practice in hiking is that you need to pack in what you have packed out to avoid loitering of waste such as food wrappers and other biodegradable trash like banana peelings and the like. “Negative trace’ is likewise a good practice which you have to pick up the rubbish left unattended by others. Catholes should be used to dispose human waste and dug 6-8 inches in soil for an approximate 200 feet distant from any water source. Hygiene products and sanitary papers should be packed out.
  4. Value wildlife. Allow wildlife to live the way they used to be. Remember never to feed them with human food because this act could upset their natural foraging habits. Keep distance away from them and never try to approach them. Pets should be controlled in natural areas and keep them restrained at all times.
  5. Lessen the impacts of campfire. If possible use small camping stoves which are efficient for cooking and will not leave any trace on the site. Allow a small camp fire or if probable go without it. Also, burn only a small diameter of wood on the ground and be aware of fire danger level in the area. Fallen or live trees by no means should be damaged. Ensure that campfire is totally smothered before leaving the campsite.
  6. Do not take what you find. Everything on the hiking site should be for your eyes only and leave it behind. Do not take what you find and let them stay belonged in the wilderness. Prevent yourself from disrupting historic or cultural artifacts, picking plants or moving rocks.
  7. Feel considerate to fellow tourists. Value the rights of other trail users. Show them respect by not making voices or noises intrusively loud. Observe proper trail rules such as right of way. Position your campsites away from trails. Attracting visual impacts should also be minimized by wearing earth colors such as black, brown, tan or green.

With all the useful information above, enjoy the wonders of the outdoors but keep in mind to keep them reserved for the future generation to enjoy as well.

When Traveling, The Actual Destination Isn’t Generally Important

Traveling in itself is a pleasure. For me perhaps it is the greatest pleasure. I keep finding cases and listen to people and discredit the fact of traveling talking about the importance of the destination, ignoring the really important part of a trip.

I understand that visiting Thailand, travel around Argentina from Buenos Aires to Patagonia or around Iceland enjoying some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world is very attractive, but we cannot forget that travel far beyond the fate of the wonderful places that hides our planet and the exotic name of the place we visited.

Traveling is a complete experience, ranging from companionship you can show to those who are with you, until you learn about the simple things around you. It is precisely the latter that I personally full of travel. When in my daily life I enjoy with my friends, I do it in a controlled environment in which we know well, but the situation changes when we travel. Smiling, enjoy and be happy next to the people we want on a trip is a way to discover that every day we are surrounded by one of the most important gifts anyone can receive, and it does not matter where.

A few weeks ago I visited with some of my best friends, a place much less likely to call my attention to Chichen Itza in Mexico or Petra in Jordan, but where I turned myself to remember the importance of being surrounded by the people, something which unfortunately forget the routine of our lives.

Finally I want to clarify that I am not advocating some destinations over others, just trying to remember that traveling is an experience far superior to where we’re going, and includes such important things like friendship, trust and love.